MARION — The 13th annual Veterans Pheasant Hunt at the Tails-A-Waggin’ Acres Game Preserve two miles west of Marion is slated for Sept. 21-24.
Preserve owners and operators Chuck and Joan Connell offered a free pheasant hunt for disabled veterans on their property for the first 10 years of the event, but in 2016, they expanded it to include those in law enforcement as well as first responders and firefighters.
And it is all free of charge to those who come.
“From the beginning, we just wanted to show our support for what these veterans have done in service to our country, and we’ve expanded that for law enforcement officers and first responders because we wanted to express our appreciation for their service as well,” said Connell, who served as the zoning administrator for the city of Lake City for many years before retiring from that position in 2017. “It’s a small way of saying thank you to people who deserve it.”
Connell has had more than 200 hunters for the event in past years and is expecting another excellent turnout this year. He will supply about 1,200 pheasants and serve a minimum of 900 meals on site.
Each vet, officer and first responder who participates will get five pheasants released along with guides and dogs for the field hunt. Disabled veterans also have access to special “all-terrain” wheelchairs for the hunt, sponsored by Action Track Chairs.
In addition, an all-day lunch under the big tent on site will be provided by the Veterans Serving Veterans group run by Dr. Roger Bandeen, an orthodontist from Cadillac and retired Army major, and many of his friends who are also Vietnam vets.
The Tails-A-Waggin’ preserve is located on the spacious 200-acre parcel four miles south of the Missaukee County line and two miles west of Marion at 18319 50th Ave. The preserve has woody areas but has been modified to accommodate motorized carts for the veterans who need them.
Sponsors are needed to help defray the cost of the pheasant hunt, especially with the expansion this year to include first responders. It will cost about $20,000 to hold the hunt this year.
It is $70 to sponsor a veteran, an officer or a first responder for the day. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100 percent of donations will be used for the pheasant hunt.
For sponsorship information or to register, call Connell at (231) 741-6483 or visit www.preservehunt.com.